The international Quartet on Middle East peace has called on Israel and the Palestinians to reach a settlement on an independent Palestinian state within 24 months.
After meeting in Moscow Friday, the diplomats urged both sides to resume talks and create a plan that ends Israeli occupation and creates a viable Palestinian state.
The Quartet issued a statement calling on Israel to freeze all settlement activity. It also condemned Israel's plan to build 1,600 new homes in occupied East Jerusalem, saying the annexation of the area has not been internationally recognized.
The Quartet is made up of diplomats from the United States, the United Nations, Russia and the European Union.
Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman responded Friday, saying peace cannot be artificially imposed with an unrealistic calendar.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas hailed the Quartet's statement and said it is critical that Israel respond by halting settlement activity.
Friday's meeting included U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, European Union Foreign Policy Chief Catherine Ashton, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and the Quartet's special envoy, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair.
The talks came as Israel faced major criticism over the new housing project for Jewish settlers in occupied East Jerusalem.
The move angered Palestinians who claim East Jerusalem as the capital of their future state. The U.S. also was upset, saying the timing of the announcement, during a visit last week by U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, was an "insult."
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke by phone with Secretary Clinton on Thursday, in a bid to defuse the dispute.
Israeli officials say Mr. Netanyahu has proposed a number of confidence-building measures to facilitate peace talks with the Palestinians.